Retainer usage is essential after you get your braces off. If you don't wear your retainer properly and frequently enough, you'll compromise the results of your orthodontic treatment. Your teeth could shift back into their old position if you don't wear your retainer.
You need to know how to use your retainer properly to ensure its effectiveness. There are a few things you don't want to do with your retainer because they could cause damage or reduce its effectiveness. The following are six things you don't want to do when you start wearing a retainer.
Attempt to eat with your retainer in place
It's important to keep your retainer in place as much as possible. However, you could damage your retainer or even injure yourself if you try to eat with your retainer in your mouth.
Expose your retainer to hot environments
Heat can warp a retainer. Retainers are typically constructed from plastic, and this plastic can start to melt or lose its form if it becomes hot. It's therefore important to always protect your retainer from heat sources.
Leave your retainer out too long
If you don't wear your retainer often enough, your teeth could gradually shift out of place. You don't want to compromise the effectiveness of your orthodontic treatment by allowing your teeth to shift back to their original positions. Therefore, you need to wear your retainer as often as your orthodontist recommends.
Neglect regular cleanings
You need to maintain your retainer by cleaning it on a regular basis. Retainer cleaning helps kill bacteria and germs. It improves your overall oral health while also keeping your retainer in good condition.
You should avoid using toothpaste when you clean your retainer. Toothpaste can be abrasive on the surface of retainers. Instead, you should soak your retainer in antiseptic mouthwash and gently rinse it off afterwards.
Store your retainer outside of its case
Whenever you're not using your retainer, you should put it in its case. Retainers are fragile. They are easy to damage if an item is placed on top of them. They are also small and easy to lose. These reasons make a protective case essential for storing a retainer.
Wear your retainer while engaged in contact sports
While you should wear your retainer most of the time, it is not recommended for patients to wear retainers when playing contact sports. Instead, orthodontists recommend that patients wear mouth guards while playing contact sports to protect their teeth from injury.
For more information about how to properly use your retainer, talk to your orthodontist.